Best Tips to Plan Your Next Family Camping Trip

Family Camping

Experiencing family camping, is one of the best experiences you can give your kids in this day and age. With technology primarily ruling our lives (from smartphones to laptops, to televisions, and more), the best way to connect with your kids is to unplug everything and get out in nature. Your kids will welcome the break from homework and all their after-school activities, and the chance to let loose and just enjoy some quality family time.

However, taking your family on a camping trip does not come without lots of planning. Maybe you used to go camping alone, or with a few friends, and you were able to do that on-the-fly.

Here are some tips to make your next family camping trip go smoothly:

Plan Age-Appropriate Family Camping Trips

Once you decide to take a hiking trip, the first step is to plan — based on your kids’ ages and experience. If hiking with young children it is best to take easier and shorter trails, look specifically at the markings for elevation, difficulty, and trail length. As your family gains more experience with hiking, begin to explore trails with increasing difficulties.

Schedule Fun Stops

When choosing trails look for features such as lakes and ponds that add variety and excitement to the hike. Children are often intrigued by their surroundings that adults often overlook. Be prepared to stop along the way to allow children to explore the nature that excites them. This is a great opportunity for teaching and learning.

Dress Right

One of the most important components of hiking, besides the trail itself, is dress. Make sure you are familiar with the weather conditions and plan accordingly. It is smart to bring an extra layers and a change of clothes in case children get dirty, wet, or cold. Be sure to wear proper footwear and protective clothing that will serve as a barrier from insects, thorns, and branches.

Take it Slow

Patience is key when hiking with children, be prepared to answer questions and take rest stops along the way. Bring plenty of water and healthy snacks to refuel energy, remember what you take in you take out! A first aid kit equipped with the essentials is also very important.

Spark Curiosity

Hiking appeals to a child’s sense of exploration. Have a field guide handy to help teach children about the surrounding wildlife and plant species. It’s a great opportunity to learn about nature together as a family, and encourage children to make discoveries:

  1. Take pictures of each new plant or animal they come across and record the data.
  2. Give each child a bag to collect leaves or pine cones for a special take-home project. This will allow them to remember all the fun you had together.
  3. For those who are a bit more adventurous, an overnight camping trip is a great way for family to bond and gaining of a deeper sense of the outdoors.

Get Started!

Your first steps when embarking on a family camping adventure: Reserve a site at a campground, and purchase and familiarize yourself with camping equipment. Review tent and gear care techniques, such as setting down a tarp under your tent to protect it from the ground, and gear storage techniques.

Next, create a checklist with the items you will need to prepare for your trip, such as a first aid kit, sleeping mats and flashlights. Keep this list handy throughout your trip to add any items you might have left out for next time. Prepare family fun activities to keep children entertained throughout the trip.

When preparing food, store it in an ice box and prepare meals that are simple and convenient. Strategically pack food according to the items you need first. This will eliminate rummaging through the ice box, keeping food organized and cold. Be sure to keep food out of your tent and always store food securely from animals and properly dispose of garbage. Look for recipes that can be incorporated into leftovers for the next day.

Once arriving at your campsite, be courteous to other campers at the campgrounds and always clean up after yourself. Always be prepared, but expect for the unexpected. That’s the fun part!

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